It took over 100 years, so Lindsey Harris, DNP/FNP-BC is more than ready to lead the 100,000 members of the Alabama State Nurses Association (ASNA) as their first African American president.
The 37-year-old Harris’s induction, the powerful leadership of ANA president Eugene Grant, this summer’s “Black Nurses Matter” march in D.C., and the NBNA’s nationwide vaccination campaign have helped make the Year of the Nurse a banner year for nurses of color. Harris told the Birmingham Times, “I want this to become the norm. It definitely is an accomplishment for me, but it is… so timely that it has happened right now. It is an honor, and I want other leadership positions in other organizations to know this is something that is normal and that we look at everybody the same.”
When the Georgia-born Harris began her studies at Samford University’s Moffet and Sanders School of Nursing, the high-achieving student and high school athlete initially felt intimidated. “For nursing, you had to think critically. I have a really great memory and can memorize anything, but for nursing you couldn’t just memorize,” she recalls.
She responded by upping her participation in classes and finding ways to combine her studies with her involvement in Sanford sporting events: “Anytime we had class, I would be there asking them questions. I can remember many times when I would do my homework while watching men’s basketball games or studying nursing flashcards while traveling to games.”
Dr. Lindsey Harris, DNP, FNP-BC, president of Alabama State Nurses Association (ASNA)
Harris received her BSN in 2006, and pursued her Master’s degree in nursing while working as a floating staff nurse at University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital. She was awarded the Master’s degree in 2011, and after earning her DNP five years later, she started working on an inpatient glycemic management team.
Harris’s involvement with nursing associations, however, began when she still was an undergraduate. “One of my professors invited me to a meeting with the Birmingham Black Nurses Association (BBNA),” she says. “When I got there, I became a student representative, then secretary, and then I went on to hold several offices within the organization.” Joining the BBNA was a formative experience for Harris: “I was mentored and groomed by the [BBNA] to be who I am— along with my family values and upbringing, of course.”
In 2016, she became president of the BBNA, and shortly thereafter Harris joined the ASNA, where she swiftly rose in the ranks and was voted in as president-elect in 2018. Harris worked closely with the outgoing president for the next two years, until her induction in September 2020.
For more information, see Erica Wright’s full article and interview with Lindsey Harris in the Birmingham Times.
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